I’ve potty trained seven children so far. The method that I have used each time has been quick, painless, and relatively accident-free in about one day’s time. I always give myself a whole weekend, but the actual training period has rarely gone over one day.
Potty training does not have to be the dramatic, messy, expensive, inconvenient production that it often turns into. It can really be cheap, quick, and painless.
But there are a few keys to success. If you leave out the most important parts, you are most likely going to be in the “training” stage for a long time.
The Most Important Potty Training Factor
Out of the seven children that I have trained so far, only one of those children trained before the age of 3.5. And the only reason she did it was because her older sister (older by 17 months) was potty training, and she desperately wanted to be like her sister.
I told her no, but she persisted. So I decided I’d give her a few hours to see if she would catch on, and she did!
Other than that one child though, age has been extremely important.
If you are trying to train a child quickly and as easily as possible, it is SO important that they be old/mature enough to make the brain body connection. If they are not making the connection, they will not catch on quickly. And your life will be filled with either accidents, or the added cost of pull-ups (pretty sure pull-ups are more costly than diapers, but I could be wrong, I never buy them).
Once my child hits the 3.5 age mark, I will give him a trial run. I am able to tell within the first four hours if this child is ready or not. If the child isn’t ready, we call it a day, go back to diapers for another 3 months and then try again.
With every child that I have had to delay 3 months, they immediately caught on the second time, and it was smooth sailing from there.
Social Stigma of Later Potty Training
I know that there is a bit of a social stigma tied to having a late potty trainer, but honestly, as long as they are trained by four years old, what’s the big deal? It’s so much better for the child if he is not constantly having accidents, and to not be expected or bribed to do something he isn’t quite ready for.
I know that there are outliers. I had one of them myself. But really, truly, in my experience, just waiting until the child is 3.5 is a better course of action. For both Mom and the child.
There are a lot of popular potty-training books that claim that if your child is aware of when he is wet, goes off to hide when he needs to poop, etc. then he is ready.
The true sign of readiness is when he is standing in your kitchen, he looks at you, says “I need to go potty” and then goes and sits on the potty and *immediately* pees.
That is the sign that he is ready. And if he can not get to that point within 4-5 hours of “training” then he isn’t ready.
Sitting a child on a potty for 30 minutes before he is able to squeeze out some urine definitely does not mean that he is potty trained.
My definition of a potty trained child is when he can tell on his own that he needs to go to the potty, he can get himself on and off the potty without assistance, and the time spent on the potty is minimal.
Next week, I am going to discuss another important aspect of quick potty-training, so be looking for that post.
If you have been through the trenches of potty training, what is your number one tip?
My firstborn was an outlier. He hated having a dirty diaper, so he was potty trained shortly after he turned two, no bribes, no fights. I thought, I’d have the same success with my second child, but this is proving not to be the case. He is almost two and a half, and he has no interest. I know he is actually more typical that way. I just need to be patient. Great tips!
Monica @HappyandBlessedHome.com says
I totally agree! Wait until they are ready. Great tips here.
I’m currently potty training my son. He’s two and a half. These are great tips. Thank you!
AMEN! It’s worked for my first 8 out of 9! Now my 9th is a different kettle of fish… I can’t picture him waiting that long. He’s working on it already, and not yet 2. He’s one of those can’t-wait-to-grow-up guys though.
My mother (also of 9 children) has always had 3 readiness rules: 1- must be able to get up in the morning with a dry diaper (shows a reasonable bladder capacity), 2- must be able to get their own clothes on (so you’re not constantly on edge to race WITH them to the bathroom), and 3- must show SOME personal interest. My friend who “potty trained” her newborn said she used MORE diapers with her than her others not trained as babies! She also had pants-wetting problems well into 5 years of age, multiple times a day! No thanks, I’ll take the fast route!! : )
The best tips I learned early on are 1) child can dress himself 2) child can get on and off the toilet by himself. I don’t ever attempt training until I see those two signs. 6 out of 6 have trained between 2.5 and 3 years old. If I don’t see a connection made in the first few hours, we go back to diapers and try again in a few weeks. Most of mine have occasional day or night accidents for about 2 weeks, but some haven’t at all. I definitely agree that it makes more sense to wait until they seem mentally and physically capable than to rush things just to be done with diapers. I actually apply this philosophy to all manner of household chores for children and academics; it has worked wonderfully so far.